Bletchley Park


Bletchley Park

She used to lay the doilies out
On holidays
And special occasions
Smoothing their edges with hands
Weathered by time

Visitors would smile and drop words
Like quaint and charming
Never looking past the surface
To the structure underneath

Each thread tells a story
Of commitment
And time gone by
Reminding her of all the pieces
That shaped her life

One day her lace will pass to me
And I will guard her legacy
Of love and loss
And everything she sacrificed
In service of her country.


My paternal grandmother worked at Bletchley Park during WWII. She wasn’t allowed to tell anyone for fifty years (until the Official Secrets Act expired). I wrote this in her memory.

This is also my submission for this week’s Trifecta writing challenge. We had to write between 33 and 333 words, and include the third definition of the following word in our piece: quaint. The third definition is: a) unusual or different in character or appearance; odd;  b) pleasingly or strikingly old-fashioned or unfamiliar.


Image credit: Bletchley Park, courtesy of Google Images

37 thoughts on “Bletchley Park

  1. Oh my, that’s amazing; what a wonderful woman she sounds like. I just watched The Bletchly Circle on Netflix, too, so a bit of a coincidence.
    What I love about this poem is that under the structure there’s a hidden layer, just like the subject. Beautifully done.

    1. I love that show. It makes me wish I’d had the chance to ask her all the questions the show raises while she was still alive.

      Thank you so much for your comments, Natalie! 🙂

  2. What’s in a doiley? The poignancy of this piece, capturing threads of life, history, sacrifice and untold stories, made more precious as the legacy is passed down and shared. Like your Grandmother, you craft intricate, beautiful pieces of work. Thanks Suzanne, truly beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Joan! Doilies are made of lace (not always, but originally). My grandmother used to make lace, so that was the imagery that came to mind. 🙂

      1. Yes, but a Doiley is so much more than lace, as I now know;-)
        I will always have a greater appreciation for the Doiley from this day forward!

  3. This is beautiful and I like the family history tied to it. My paternal grandma used to make doilies, but she crocheted them out of a fine thread/yarn. I put them out on table tops just because I like the way they look 🙂

  4. She used to lay the doilies out
    On holidays
    And special occasions
    I love this opening. Why is it that we…I…only bring out the good things, the treasured things, on special occasions? I must own 40 antique tea cups and saucers. Yet, they’re pressed into service only rarely.

  5. Lovely, Suzanne.. a well-deserved tribute to your grandmother. I love the second stanza.. how often we do that.. glance at something without taking into consideration what went into it, how it was made, what it meant. Beautiful, heartfelt poem.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your grandma Suzanne!Loved the intricate “pattern” you wove in this piece,so easily-kudos once again my friend!

  7. Beautiful, Suzanne. I’m sure she would have been pleased and loved to have read this.

    I watched the miniseries ‘Beltchley Circle’ about the lady code breakers solving a murder crime, on PBS recently. I would think your grandmother would have been right in the thick of things if given the chance. I enjoyed the show and learned about those ladies service.

    1. Aw, thanks Ted! 🙂

      Yeah, I love that show, although it makes me feel a little sad for my grandmother and the other women of Bletchley Park. It can’t have been easy to go back to the life of a woman in post-War England.

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